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FAVOURITE CLASSICS : 
Poems of Emily Bronte. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



HEINEMANN'S 
FAVOURITE CLASSICS 

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_____^~I J I J IAM: HEINEMANN 
21 Bedford Street, W.C. 



POEMS OF 

EMILY BRONTE 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

ARTHUR SYMONS 




LONDON 

WILLIAM HEINEMANN 
1906 




Edinburgh : T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty 



INTRODUCTION 

THIS was a woman young and passionate, 
Loving the Earth, and loving most to be 
Where she might be alone with liberty ; 
Loving the beasts, who are compassionate ; 
The homeless moors, her home ; the bright elate 
Winds of the cold dawn ; rock and stone and tree; 
Night, bringing dreams out of eternity ; 
And memory of Death's unforgetting date. 
She too was unforgetting : has she yet 
Forgotten that long agony when her breath 
Too fierce for living fanned the flame of death ? 
Earth for her heather, does she now forget 
What pity knew not in her love from scorn, 
And that it was an unjust thing to be born ? 

THE Stoic in woman has been seen once only, 
and that in the only woman in whom there 
has been seen the paradox of passion without 
sensuousness. Emily Bronte lived with an 
unparalleled energy a life of outward quiet, 
in a loneliness which she shared only with the 
moors and with the animals whom she loved. 
She required no passionate experience to en- 
6 



vi POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

dow her with more than a memory of passion. 
Passion was alive in her as flame is alive in 
the earth. And the vehemence of that inner 
fire fed on itself, and wore out her body before 
its time, because it had no respite and no 
outlet. We see her condemned to self- 
imprisonment, and dying of too much life. 

Her poems are few and brief, and nothing 
more personal has ever been written. A few 
are as masterly in execution as in conception, 
and almost all have a direct truth of utterance, 
which rarely lacks at least the bare beauty of 
muscle and sinew, of a kind of naked strength 
and alertness. They are without heat or 
daylight, the sun is rarely in them, and then 
' blood-red ' ; light comes as starshine, or 
comes as 

' hostile light 
That does not warm but burn.' 

At times the landscape in this bare, grey, 
craggy verse, always a landscape of Yorkshire 
moors, with its touches of stern and tender 
memory, ' The mute bird sitting on the stone,' 
4 A little and a lone green lane, 1 has a quality 
more thrilling than that of Wordsworth. 



INTRODUCTION vii 

There is none of his observation, and none of 
his sense of a benignant ' presence far more 
deeply interfused ' ; but there is the voice 
of the heart's roots, crying out to its home in 
the earth. 

At first this unornamented verse may seem 
forbidding, may seem even to be ordinary, 
as an actual moorland may, to those for whom 
it has no special attraction. But in the verse, 
as on the moors, there is space, wind, and 
the smell of the earth ; and there is room 
to be alone, that liberty which this woman 
cried for when she cried : 

' Leave the heart that now I bear, 
And give me liberty.' 

To be alone was for her to be alone with 
'a chainless soul,' which asked of whatever 
powers might be only ' courage to endure,' 
constancy not to forget, and the right to leave 
the door wide open to those visions that came 
to her out of mere fixed contemplation : ' the 
God of Visions,' as she called her imagination, 
6 my slave, my comrade, and my king.' And 
we know that her courage was flawless, heroic, 
beyond praise ; that she forgot nothing, not 
even that love for her unspeakable brother, 



viii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

for whom she has expressed in two of her 
poems a more than masculine magnanimity 
of pity and contempt ; and that at all times 
she could turn inward to that world within, 
where her imagination waited for her, 

' Where thou, and I, and Liberty 
Have undisputed sovereignty.' 

Yet even imagination, though ' benignant," 
is to her a form of c phantom bliss ' to which 
she will not trust herself wholly. ' So hope- 
less is the world without ' : but is the world 
within ever quite frankly accepted as a sub- 
stitute, as a truer reality ? She is always on 
her guard against imagination as against the 
outer world, whose 'lies '-she is resolved shall 
not 'beguile' her. She has accepted reason 
as the final arbiter, and desires only to see 
clearly, to see things as they are. She really 
believed that 

' Earth reserves no blessing 
For the unblest of heaven ' ; 

and she had an almost Calvinistic sense of her 
own condemnation to unhappiness. That 
being so, she was suspicious of those oppor- 
tunities of joy which did come to her, or at 



INTRODUCTION ix 

least resolute not to believe too implicitly in 
the good messages of the stars, which might be 
mere dreams, or of the earth, which was only 
certainly kind in preparing for her that often 
thought-of grave. ' No coward soul is mine ' 
is one of her true sayings ; but it was with 
difficulty that she trusted even that message 
of life which she seemed to discover in death. 
She has to assure herself of it, again and 
again : 4 Who once lives, never dies ! ' And 
that sense of personal identity which aches 
throughout all her poems is a sense, not of 
the delight, but of the pain and ineradicable 
sting of personal identity. 

Her poems are all outcries, as her great 
novel, Wuihering Heights, is one long outcry. 
A soul on the rack seems to make itself heard 
at moments, when suffering has grown too 
acute for silence. Every poem is as if torn 
from her. Even when she does not write 
seemingly in her own person, the subjects are 
such disguises "as ' The Prisoner, 1 ' Honour's 
Martyr,' ' The Outcast Mother, 1 echoes of all 
the miseries and useless rebellions of the earth. 
She spells over the fading characters in dying 
faces, unflinchingly, with an austere curiosity ; 



x POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

and looks closely into the eyes of shame, not 
dreading what she may find there. She is 
always arguing with herself, and the answers 
are inflexible, the answers of a clear intellect 
which rebels but accepts defeat. Her doubt 
is itself an affirmation, her defiance would be 
an entreaty but for the quenchless will ' of 
her pride. She faces every terror, and to her 
pained apprehension birth and death and life 
are alike terrible. Only Webster's dirge might 
have been said over her coffin. 

' What my soul bore my soul alone 
Within itself may tell/ 

she says truthfully ; but some of that long 
endurance of her life, in which exile, the body's 
weakness, and a sense of some c divinest 
anguish ' which clung about the world and 
all things living, had their share, she was able 
to put into ascetic and passionate verse. It is 
sad-coloured and desolate, but when gleams of 
sunlight or of starlight pierce the clouds that 
hang generally above it, a rare and stormy 
beauty comes into the bare outlines, quickening 
them with living splendour. 

ARTHUR SYMONS. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

FAITH AND DESPONDENCY 1 

STARS ........ 3 

THE PHILOSOPHER ...... 5 

REMEMBRANCE 8 

THE OUTCAST MOTHER ..... 9 

A DEATH-SCENE 11 

SONG 13 

ANTICIPATION . . . . . . . 14 

THE PRISONER ....... 16 

HOPE . .... 21 

A DAY DREAM ....... 22 

TO IMAGINATION ...... 25 

HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES 26 

SYMPATHY 28 

PLEAD FOR ME ....... 28 

SELF-INTERROGATION ...... 30 

DEATH 32 

STANZAS TO 34 

HONOUR'S MARTYR 35 

STANZAS ........ 38 

MY COMFORTER ....... 38 

THE OLD STOIC ... 40 



xii POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

PAGE 

PREFATORY NOTE BY CHARLOTTE BRONTE TO 

SELECTIONS FROM POEMS BY EMILY BRONTE . 41 

I. A LITTLE WHILE, A LITTLE WHILE ... 45 

II. THE BLUEBELL 47 

III. LOUD WITHOUT THE WIND WAS ROARING . 48 

THE NIGHT-WIND 53 

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP 56 

THE ELDER'S REBUKE ...... 56 

THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD. ... 58 

WARNING AND REPLY ...... 60 

LAST WORDS 61 

THE LADY TO HER GUITAR 62 

THE TWO CHILDREN ...... 63 

THE VISIONARY 65 

ENCOURAGEMENT. . .... 67 

STANZAS . 68 



FAITH AND DESPONDENCY 

' THE winter wind is loud and wild, 
Come close to me, my darling child ; 
Forsake thy books, and mateless play ; 
And, while the night is gathering grey, 
We '11 talk its pensive hours away ; 

' lerne, round our sheltered hall 
November's gusts unheeded call ; 
Not one faint breath can enter here 
Enough to wave my daughter's hair, 
And I am glad to watch the blaze 
Glance from her eyes, with mimic rays 
To feel her cheek, so softly pressed, 
In happy quiet on my breast. 

' But, yet, even this tranquillity 
Brings bitter, restless thoughts to me ; 
And, in the red fire's cheerful glow, 
I think of deep glens, blocked with snow ; 
I dream of moor, and misty hill, 
Where evening closes dark and chill ; 
For, lone, among the mountains cold, 
Lie those that I have loved of old. 
And my heart aches, in hopeless pain, 

A 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Exhausted with repinings vain, 
That I shall greet them ne'er again ! ' 

' Father, in early infancy, 
When you were far beyond the sea, 
Such thoughts were tyrants over me ! 
I often sat, for hours together, 
Through the long nights of angry weather, 
Raised on my pillow, to descry 
The dim moon struggling in the sky ; 
Or, with strained ear, to catch the shock, 
Of rock with wave, and wave with rock ; 
So would I fearful vigil keep, 
And, all for listening, never sleep. 
But this world's life has much to dread, 
Not so, my Father, with the dead. 

' Oh ! not for them, should we despair, 
The grave is drear, but they are not there ; 
Their dust is mingled with the sod, 
Their happy souls are gone to God ! 
You told me this, and yet you sigh, 
And murmur that your friends must die. 
Ah ! my dear father, tell me why ? 
For, if your former words were true, 
How useless would such sorrow be ; 
As wise, to mourn the seed which grew 
Unnoticed on its parent tree, 
Because it fell in fertile earth, 
And sprang up to a glorious birth 



STARS 3 

Struck deep its root, and lifted high 
Its green boughs in the breezy sky. 

' But, I '11 not fear, I will not weep 
For those whose bodies rest in sleep, 
I know there is a blessed shore, 

Opening its ports for me and mine; 
And, gazing Time's wide waters o'er, 

I weary for that land divine, 
Where we were born, where you and I 
Shall meet our dearest, when we die ; 
From suffering and corruption free, 
Restored into the Deity.' 

' Well hast thou spoken, sweet, trustful child ! 

And wiser than thy sire ; 
And worldly tempests, ranging wild, 

Shall strengthen thy desire 
Thy fervent hope, through storm and foam, 

Through wind and ocean's roar, 
To reach, at last, the eternal home, 

The steadfast, changeless shore ! ' 



STARS 

AH ! why, because the dazzling sun 
Restored our Earth to joy, 

Have you departed, every one 
And left a desert sky ? 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

All through the night, your glorious eyes 

Were gazing down in mine, 
And, with a full heart's thankful sighs, 

I blessed that watch divine. 



I was at peace, and drank your beams 

As they were life to me ; 
And revelled in my changeful dreams, 

Like petrel on the sea. 

Thought followed thought, star followed star, 

Through boundless regions, on ; 
While one sweet influence, near and far, 

Thrilled through, and proved us one ! 

Why did the morning dawn to break 

So great, so pure, a spell ; 
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek, 

Where your cool radiance fell ? 

Blood-red, he rose, and arrow-straight, 
His fierce beams struck my brow ; 

The soul of nature sprang, elate, 
But mine sank sad and low ! 

My lids closed down, yet through their veil 

I saw him blazing, still, 
And steep in gold the misty dale, 

And flash upon the hill. 



THE PHILOSOPHER 

I turned me to the pillow, then, 

To call back night, and see 
Your worlds of solemn light, again, 

Throb with my heart, and me ! 

It would not do the pillow glowed, 
And glowed both roof and floor ; 

And birds sang loudly in the wood, 
And fresh winds shook the door ; 

The curtains waved, the wakened flies 
Were murmuring round my room, 

Imprisoned there, till I should rise, 
And give them leave to roam. 

Oh, stars, and dreams, and gentle night ; 

Oh, night and stars, return ! 
And hide me from the hostile light 

That does not warm, but burn ; 

That drains the blood of suffering men : 
Drinks tears, instead of dew ; 

Let me sleep through his blinding reign, 
And only wake with you ! 



THE PHILOSOPHER 

ENOUGH of thought, philosopher ! 
Too long hast thou been dreaming 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

Unlightened, in this chamber drear, 

While summer's sun is beaming ! 
Space-sweeping soul, what sad refrain 
Concludes thy musings once again ? 

' Oh, for the time when I shall sleep 

Without identity. 

And never care how rain may steep, 

Or snow may cover me ! 

No promised heaven, these wild desires 

Could all, or half fulfil ; 

No threatened hell, with quenchless fires, 

Subdue this quenchless will ! ' 

' So said I, and still say the same ; 

Still, to my death, will say 
Three gods, within this little frame, 

Are warring night and day ; 
Heaven could not hold them all, and yet 

They all are held in me ; 
And must be mine till I forget 

My present entity ! 
Oh, for the time, when in my breast 

Their struggles will be o'er ! 
Oh, for the day, when I shall rest, 

And never suffer more ! ' 

' I saw a spirit, standing, man, 

Where thou dost stand an hour ago, 
And round his feet three rivers ran, 



THE PHILOSOPHER 7 

Of equal depth, and equal flow 
A golden stream and one like blood ; 

And one like sapphire seemed to be ; 
But, where they joined their triple flood 

It tumbled in an inky sea. 
The spirit sent his dazzling gaze 

Down through that ocean's gloomy night ; 
Then, kindling all, with sudden blaze, 

The glad deep sparkled wide and bright 
White as the sun, far, far more fair 

Than its divided sources were ! ' 

' And even for that spirit, seer, 

I 've watched and sought my life-time long ; 
Sought him in heaven, hell, earth, and air, 

An endless search, and always wrong. 
Had I but seen his glorious eye 

Once light the clouds that wilder me ; 
I ne'er had raised this coward cry 

To cease to think, and cease to be ; 
I ne'er had called oblivion blest, 

Nor stretching eager hands to death, 
Implored to change for senseless rest 

Th'" sentient soul, this living breath 
Oh, let me die that power and will 

Their cruel strife may close ; 
And conquered good, and conquering ill 

Be lost in one repose ! ' 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



REMEMBRANCE 

COLD in the earth and the deep snow piled 

above thee, 

Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave ! 
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee, 
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave ? 

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer 

hover 

Over the mountains, on that northern shore, 
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves 

cover 
Thy noble heart for ever, ever more ? 

Cold in the earth and fifteen wild Decembers, 
From those brown hills, have melted into spring : 
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers 
After such years of change and suffering ! 

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee, 
While the world's tide is bearing me along ; 
Other desires and other hopes beset me, 
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong ! 

No later light has lightened up my heaven, 
No second morn has ever shone for me ; 
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given, 
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee. 



THE OUTCAST MOTHER 9 

But, when the days of golden dreams had 

perished, 

And even Despair was powerless to destroy ; 
Then did I learn how existence could be 

cherished, 
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy. 

Then did I check the tears of useless passion 
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine ; 
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten 
Down to that tomb already more than mine. 

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish, 
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain 
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish, 
How could I seek the empty world again ? 



THE OUTCAST MOTHER 

I 'VE seen this dell in July's shine, 

As lovely as an angel's dream ; 
Above Heaven's depth of blue divine, 

Around the evening's golden beam. 

I J ve seen the purple heather-bell 

Look out by many a storm-worn stone ; 

And, oh ! I 've known such music swell, 
Such wild notes wake these passes lone 



10 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

So soft, yet so intensely felt ; 

So low, yet so distinctly heard ; 
My breath would pause, my eyes would melt, 

And tears would dew the green heath- 
sward. 



I 'd linger here a summer day, 

Nor care how fast the hours flew by, 

Nor mark the sun's departing ray 
Smile sadly from the dark'ning sky. 

Then, then, I might have laid me down, 
And dreamed my sleep would gentle be ; 

I might have left thee, darling one, 

And thought thy God was guarding thee ! 

But now there is no wand'ring glow, 
No gleam to say that God is nigh ; 

And coldly spreads the couch of snow, 
And harshly sounds thy lullaby. 

Forests of heather, dark and long, 

Wave their brown branching arms above ; 

And they must soothe thee with their song, 
And they must shield my child of love. 

Alas ! the flakes are heavily falling, 
They cover fast each guardian crest ; 

And chilly white their shroud is palling 
Thy frozen limbs and freezing breast. 



A DEATH-SCENE 11 

Wakes up the storm more madly wild, 
The mountain drifts are tossed on high ; 

Farewell, unbless'd, unfriended child, 
I cannot bear to watch thee die ! 



A DEATH-SCENE 

' O DAY ! he cannot die 
When thou so fair art shining ! 

Sun, in such a glorious sky, 
So tranquilly declining ; 

' He cannot leave thee now, 
While fresh west winds are blowing, 
And all around his youthful brow 
Thy cheerful light is glowing ! 

' Edward, awake, awake 
The golden evening gleams 
Warm and bright on Arden's lake 
Arouse thee from thy dreams ! 

' Beside thee, on my knee, 

My dearest friend, I pray 

That thou, to cross the eternal sea, 

Wouldst yet one hour delay : 

' I hear its billows roar 

1 see them foaming high ; 



12 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But no glimpse of a further shore 
Has blest my straining eye. 

' Believe not what they urge 

Of Eden isles beyond ; 

Turn back, from that tempestuous surge, 

To thy own native land. 

' It is not death, but pain 
That struggles in thy breast 
Nay, rally, Edward, rouse again ; 
I cannot let thee rest ! ' 

One long look, that sore reproved me 
For the woe I could not bear 
One mute look of suffering moved me 
To repent my useless prayer : 

And, with sudden check, the heaving 
Of distraction passed away ; 
Not a sign of further grieving 
Stirred my soul that awful day. 

Paled, at length, the sweet sun setting ; 
Sunk to peace the twilight breeze : 
Summer dews fell softly, wetting 
Glen, and glade, and silent trees. 

Then his eyes began to weary, 
Weighed beneath a mortal sleep ; 



SONG 13 

And their orbs grew strangely dreary, 
Clouded, even as they would weep. 

But they wept not, but they changed not, 
Never moved, and never closed ; 
Troubled still, and still they ranged not 
Wandered not, nor yet reposed ! 

So I knew that he was dying 
Stooped, and raised his languid head ; 
Felt no breath, and heard no sighing, 
So I knew that he was dead. 



SONG 

THE linnet in the rocky dells, 

The moor-lark in the air, 
The bee among the heather-bells 

That hide my lady fair : 

The wild deer browse above her breast ; 

The wild birds raise their brood ; 
And they, her smiles of love caressed, 

Have left her solitude ! 

I ween, that when the grave's dark wall 

Did first her form retain, 
They thought their hearts could ne'er recall 

The light of joy again. 



14 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

They thought the tide of grief would flow 
Unchecked through future years ; 

But where is all their anguish now, 
And where are all their tears ? 

Well, let them fight for honour's breath, 
Or pleasure's shade pursue 

The dweller in the land of death 
Is changed and careless too. 

And, if their eyes should watch and weep 
Till sorrow's source were dry, 

She would not, in her tranquil sleep, 
Return a single sigh ! 

Blow, west wind, by the lonely mound, 
And murmur, summer streams 

There is no need of other sound 
To soothe my lady's dreams. 



ANTICIPATION 

How beautiful the earth is still, 
To thee how full of happiness ! 
How little fraught with real ill, 
Or unreal phantoms of distress ! 
How spring can bring thee glory, yet, 
And summer win thee to forget 
December's sullen time ! 



ANTICIPATION 15 

Why dost thou hold the treasure fast, 
Of youth's delight, when youth is past, 
And thou art near thy prime ? 

When those who were thy own compeers. 

Equals in fortune and in years, 

Have seen their morning melt in tears 

To clouded, smile! ess day ; 
Blest, had they died untried and young, 
Before their hearts went wandering wrong,- 
Poor slaves, subdued by passions strong, 

A weak and helpless prey ! 

* Because, I hoped while they enjoyed, 
And by fulfilment, hope destroyed ; 
As children hope, with trustful breast, 
I waited bliss and cherished rest. 
A thoughtful spirit taught me soon, 
That we must long till life be done ; 
That every phase of earthly joy 
Must always fade, and always cloy : 

' This I foresaw, and would not chase 

The fleeting treacheries ; 
But, with firm foot and tranquil face, 
Held backward from that tempting race, 
Gazed o'er the sands the waves efface, 

To the enduring seas 
There cast my anchor of desire 
Deep in unknown eternity ; 



16 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Nor ever let my spirit tire, 
With looking for what is to be \ 

' It is hope's spell that glorifies, 
Like youth, to my maturer eyes, 
All nature's million mysteries, 

The fearful and the fair 
Hope soothes me in the griefs I know ; 
She lulls my pain for others' woe, 
And makes me strong to undergo 

What I am born to bear. 

Glad comforter ! will I not brave, 
Unawed, the darkness of the grave ? 
Nay, smile to hear Death's billows rave- 
Sustained, my guide, by thee ? 
The more unjust seems present fate, 
The more my spirit swells elate, 
Strong, in thy strength, to anticipate 
Rewarding destiny ! ' 



THE PRISONER 

A FRAGMENT 

IN the dungeon crypts idly did I stray, 
Reckless of the lives wasting there away ; 
' Draw the ponderous bars ! open, Warder stern ! ' 
He dared not say me nay the hinges harshly turn. 



THE PRISONER 17 

'Our guests are darkly lodged/ I whisper'd, 

gazing through 
The vault, whose grated eye showed heaven more 

grey than blue ; 
(This was when glad Spring laughed in awaking 

pride ;) 
' Ay, darkly lodged enough ! ' returned my sullen 

guide. 

Then, God forgive my youth ; forgive my careless 
tongue ; 

I scoffed, as the chill chains on the damp flag- 
stones rung : 

' Confined in triple walls, art thou so much to fear, 

That we must bind thee down and clench thy 
fetters here ? ' 

The captive raised her face; it was as soft and 

mild 
As sculptured marble saint, or slumbering un- 

wean'd child ; 

It was so soft and mild, it was so sweet and fair, 
Pain could not trace a line, nor grief a shadow 

there ! 

The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her 

brow ; 
' I have been struck/ she said, ' and I am suffering 

now; 

B 



18 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Yet these are little worth, your bolts and irons 

strong ; 
And, were they forged in steel, they could not 

hold me long/ 

Hoarse laughed the jailor grim : ' Shall I be won 

to hear ; 
Dost think, fond, dreaming wretch, that / shall 

grant thy prayer ? 
Or, better still, will melt my master's heart with 

groans ? 
Ah! sooner might the sun thaw down these 

granite stones. 

'My master's voice is low, his aspect bland and 

kind, 
But hard as hardest flint the soul that lurks 

behind ; 
And I am rough and rude, yet not more rough 

to see 
Than is the hidden ghost that has its home in me/ 

About her lips there played a smile of almost 

scorn, 
' My friend/ she gently said, ' you have not heard 

me mourn ; 
When you my kindred's lives, my lost life, can 

restore, 
Then may I weep and sue, but never, friend, 

before ! 



THE PRISONER 19 

e Still, let my tyrants know, I am not doomed to 

wear 

Year after year in gloom, and desolate despair ; 
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me, 
And offers for short life, eternal liberty. 

'He comes with western winds, with evening's 

wandering airs, 
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the 

thickest stars. 

Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire, 
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with 

desire. 

' Desire for nothing known in my maturer years, 
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future 

tears. 

When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm, 
I knew not whence they came, from sun or 

thunder-storm. 

'But, first, a hush of peace a soundless calm 

descends ; 
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience 

ends; 
Mute music soothes my breast unuttered 

harmony, 
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost 

to me. 



20 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

' Then dawns the Invisible ; the Unseen its truth 

reveals, 
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence 

feels : 
Its wings are almost free its home, its harbour 

found, 
Measuring the gulf, it stoops and dares the final 

bound. 

'Oh ! dreadful is the check intense the agony 
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins 

to see ; 
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to 

think again ; 
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the 

chain. 

* Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture 

less; 
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will 

bless; 
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly 

shine, 
If it but herald death, the vision is divine ! ' 

She ceased to speak, and we, unanswering, turned 

to go 

We had no further power to work the captive woe : 
Her cheek, her gleaming eye, declared that man 

had given 
A sentence, unapproved, and overruled by Heaven. 



HOPE 21 



HOPE 

HOPE was but a timid friend ; 

She sat without the grated den, 
Watching how my fate would tend, 

Even as selfish-hearted men. 

She was cruel in her fear ; 

Through the bars one dreary day, 
I looked out to see her there, 

And she turned her face away ! 

Like a false guard, false watch keeping, 
Still, in strife, she whispered peace 

She would sing while I was weeping ; 
If I listened, she would cease. 

False she was, and unrelenting ; 

When my last joys strewed the ground, 
Even Sorrow saw, repenting, 

Those sad relics scattered round ; 

Hope, whose whisper would have given 

Balm to all my frenzied pain, 
Stretched her wings, and soared to heaven. 

Went, and ne'er returned again ! 



22 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



A DAY DREAM 

ON a sunny brae alone I lay 

One summer afternoon ; 
It was the marriage-time of May, 

With her young lover, June. 

From her mother's heart seemed loath to part 

That queen of bridal charms. 
But her father smiled on the fairest child 

He ever held in his arms. 

The trees did wave their plumy crests, 

The glad birds carolled clear; 
And I, of all the wedding guests, 

Was only sullen there ! 

There was not one, but wished to shun 

My aspect void of cheer ; 
The very grey rocks, looking on, 

Asked, f What do you here ? ' 

And I could utter no reply ; 

In sooth, I did not know 
Why I had brought a clouded eye 

To greet the general glow. 

So, resting on a heathy bank, 
I took my heart to me , 



A DAY DREAM 23 

And we together sadly sank 
Into a reverie. 

We thought, ' When Winter comes again, 
Where will these bright things be ? 

All vanished, like a vision vain, 
An unreal mockery ! 

( The birds that now so blithely sing, 

Through deserts, frozen dry, 
Poor spectres of the perished spring, 

In famished troops will fly. 

' And why should we be glad at all ? 

The leaf is hardly green, 
Before a token of its fall 

Is on the surface seen ! ' 

Now, whether it were really so, 

I never could be sure ; 
But as in fit of peevish woe, 

I stretched me on the moor. 

A thousand thousand gleaming fires 

Seemed kindling in the air; 
A thousand thousand silvery lyres 

Resounded far and near : 

Methought, the very breath I breathed 
Was full of sparks divine, 



24 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And all my heather-couch was wreathed 
By that celestial shine ! 

And, while the wide earth echoing rung 
To that strange minstrelsy, 

The little glittering spirits sung, 
Or seemed to sing, to me : 

' O mortal ! mortal ! let them die ; 

Let time and tears destroy, 
That we may overflow the sky 

With universal joy ! 

'Let grief distract the sufferer's breast, 
And night obscure his way ; 

They hasten him to endless rest, 
And everlasting day. 

' To thee the world is like a tomb, 

A desert's naked shore ; 
To us, in unimagined bloom, 

It brightens more and more ! 

' And, could we lift the veil, and give 
One brief glimpse to thine eye, 

Thou wouldst rejoice for those that live, 
Because they live to die.' 

The music ceased ; the noonday dream 
Like dream of night, withdrew ; 



TO IMAGINATION 25 

But Fancy, still, will sometimes deem 
Her fond creation true. 



TO IMAGINATION 

WHEN weary with the long day's care, 
And earthly change from pain to pain, 

And lost, and ready to despair, 

Thy kind voice calls me back again : 

Oh, my true friend ! I am not lone, 

While thou canst speak with such a tone ! 

So hopeless is the world without ; 

The world within I doubly prize ; 
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt, 

And cold suspicion never rise ; 
Where thou, and I, and Liberty, 
Have undisputed sovereignty* 

What matters it, that all around 

Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie, 

If but within our bosom's bound 
We hold a bright, untroubled sky, 

Warm with ten thousand mingled rays 

Of suns that know no winter days ? 

Reason, indeed, may oft complain 

For Nature's sad reality, 
And tell the suffering heart how vain 



26 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Its cherished dreams must always be ; 
And Truth may rudely trample down 
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown : 

But thou art ever there, to bring 

The hovering vision back, and breathe 

New glories o'er the blighted spring, 
And call a lovelier Life from Death. 

And whisper, with a voice divine, 

Of real worlds, as bright as thine. 

I trust not to thy phantom bliss, 
Yet, still, in evening's quiet hour, 

With never-failing thankfulness, 
I welcome thee, Benignant Power; 

Sure solacer of human cares, 

And sweeter hope, when hope despairs ! 



HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES 

How clear she shines ! How quietly 

I lie beneath her guardian light ; 
While heaven and earth are whispering me, 

'To-morrow, wake, but dream to-night.' 
Yes, Fancy, come, my Fairy love ! 

These throbbing temples softly kiss ; 
And bend my lonely couch above, 

And bring me rest, and bring me bliss. 



HOW CLEAR SHE SHINES 27 

The world is going ; dark world, adieu ! 

Grim world, conceal thee till the day ; 
The heart thou canst not all subdue 

Must still resist, if thou delay ! 
Thy love I will not, will not share ; 

Thy hatred only wakes a smile ; 
Thy griefs may wound thy wrongs may tear, 

But, oh, thy lies shall ne'er beguile ! 
While gazing on the stars that glow 

Above me, in that stormless sea, 
I long to hope that all the woe 

Creation knows, is held in thee ! 

And this shall be my dream to-night ; 

I '11 think the heaven of glorious spheres 
Is rolling on its course of light 

In endless bliss through endless years ; 
I '11 think, there 's not one world above, 

Far as these straining eyes can see, 
Where Wisdom ever laughed at Love, 

Or Virtue crouched to Infamy ; 

Where, writhing 'neath the strokes of Fate, 

The mangled wretch was forced to smile ; 
To match his patience 'gainst her hate, 

His heart rebellious all the while. 
Where Pleasure still will lead to wrong, 

And helpless Reason warn in vain ; 
And Truth is weak, and Treachery strong ; 

And Joy the surest path to Pain ; 



28 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And Peace, the lethargy of Grief; 

And Hope, a phantom of the soul ; 
And Life, a labour, void and brief; 

And Death, the despot of the whole ! 



SYMPATHY 

THERE should be no despair for you 

While nightly stars are burning ; 
While evening pours its silent dew, 

And sunshine gilds the morning. 
There should be no despair though tears 

May flow down like a river : 
Are not the best beloved of years 

Around your heart for ever ? 

They weep, you weep, it must be so ; 

Winds sigh as you are sighing, 
And winter sheds its grief in snow 

Where Autumn's leaves are lying ; 
Yet, these revive, and from their fate, 

Your fate cannot be parted : 
Then, journey on, if not elate, 

Still, never broken-hearted ! 



PLEAD FOR ME 

OH, thy bright eyes must answer now, 
When Reason, with a scornful brow, 



PLEAD FOR ME 29 

Is mocking at my overthrow ! 

Oh, thy sweet tongue must plead for me 

And tell why I have chosen thee ! 

Stern Reason is to judgment come, 
Arrayed in all her forms of gloom : 
Wilt thou, my advocate, be dumb ? 
No, radiant angel, speak and say, 
Why I did cast the world away. 

Why I have persevered to shun 
The common paths that others run ; 
And on a strange road journeyed on, 
Heedless, alike of wealth and power 
Of glory's wreath and pleasure's flower. 

These, once, indeed, seemed Beings Divine ; 
And they, perchance, heard vows of mine, 
And saw my offerings on their shrine ; 
But careless gifts are seldom prized, 
And mine were worthily despised. 

So, with a ready heart, I swore 
To seek their altar-stone no more ; 
And gave my spirit to adore 
Thee, ever-present, phantom thing 
My slave, my comrade, and my king. 

A slave, because I rule thee still; 
Incline thee to my changeful will, 



30 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And make thy influence good or ill 
A comrade, for by day and night 
Thou art my intimate delight, 

My darling pain that wounds and sears, 
And wrings a blessing out from tears 
By deadening me to earthly cares ; 
And yet, a king, though Prudence well 
Have taught thy subject to rebel. 

And am I wrong to worship where 
Faith cannot doubt, nor hope despair, 
Since my own soul can grant my prayer ? 
Speak, God of visions, plead for me, 
And tell why I have chosen thee ! 



SELF-INTERROGATION 

' THE evening passes fast away. 

'Tis almost time to rest ; 
What thoughts has left the vanished day, 

What feelings in thy breast ? 

'The vanished day ? It leaves a sense 

Of labour hardly done ; 
Of little gained with vast expense 

A sense of grief alone ! 

' Time stands before the door of Death, 
Upbraiding bitterly ; 



SELF-INTERROGATION 31 

And Conscience, with exhaustless breath, 
Pours black reproach on me : 

f And though I 've said that Conscience lies 
And Time should Fate condemn ; 

Still, sad Repentance clouds my eyes, 
And makes me yield to them ! 

' Then art thou glad to seek repose ? 

Art glad to leave the sea, 
And anchor all thy weary woes 

In calm Eternity ? 

' Nothing regrets to see thee go 
Not one voice sobs " Farewell " ; 

And where thy heart has suffered so, 
Canst thou desire to dwell ? 

( Alas ! the countless links are strong 

That bind us to our clay ; 
The loving spirit lingers long, 

And would not pass away ! 

' And rest is sweet, when laurelled fame 

Will crown the soldier's crest ; 
But a brave heart, with a tarnished name, 

Would rather fight than rest. 

' Well, thou hast fought for many a year, 
Hast fought thy whole life through, 



32 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear ; 
What is there left to do ? 

' 'Tis true, this arm has hotly striven, 
Has dared what few would dare ; 

Much have I done, and freely given, 
But little learnt to bear ! 

' Look on the grave where thou must sleep, 

Thy last, and strongest foe ; 
It is endurance not to weep, 

If that repose seem woe. 

' The long war closing in defeat 

Defeat serenely borne, 
Thy midnight rest may still be sweet 

And break in glorious morn ! ' 



DEATH 

DEATH ! that struck when I was most confiding 

In my certain faith of joy to be 
Strike again, Time's withered branch dividing 

From the fresh root of Eternity ! 

Leaves, upon Time's branch, were growing 

brightly, 
Full of sap, and full of silver dew ; 



DEATH 33 

Birds beneath its shelter gathered nightly ; 
Daily round its flowers the wild bees flew. 

Sorrow passed, and plucked the golden blossom ; 

Guilt stripped off the foliage in its pride ; 
But, within its parent's kindly bosom, 

Flowed for ever Life's restoring tide. 

Little mourned I for the parted gladness, 
For the vacant nest and silent song 

Hope was there, and laughed me out of sadness ; 
Whispering, ' Winter will not linger long ! ' 

And, behold ! with tenfold increase blessing, 
Spring adorned the beauty-burdened spray ; 

Wind and rain and fervent heat, caressing, 
Lavished glory on that second May ! 

High it rose no winged grief could sweep it ; 

Sin was scared to distance with its shine ; 
Love, and its own life, had power to keep it 

From all wrong from every blight but thine ! 

Cruel Death ! The young leaves droop and 
languish ; 

Evening's gentle air may still restore 
No ! the morning sunshine mocks my anguish 

Time, for me, must never blossom more ! 

Strike it down, that other boughs may flourish 
Where that perished sapling used to be ; 



34 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Thus, at least, its mouldering corpse will nourish 
That from which it sprung Eternity. 



STANZAS TO 

WELL, some may hate, and some may scorn, 
And some may quite forget thy name ; 
But my sad heart must ever mourn 
Thy ruined hopes, thy blighted fame ! 
'Twas thus I thought, an hour ago, 
Even weeping o'er that wretch's woe ; 
One word turned back my gushing tears, 
And lit my altered eye with sneers. 
Then ' Bless the friendly dust/ I said, 
That hides thy unlamented head ! 
Vain as thou wert, and weak as vain, 
The slave of Falsehood, Pride, and Pain 
My heart has nought akin to thine ; 
Thy soul is powerless over mine.' 

But these were thoughts that vanished too ; 
Unwise, unholy, and untrue : 
Do I despise the timid deer, 
Because his limbs are fleet with fear ? 
Or, would I mock the wolfs death-howl, 
Because his form is gaunt and foul ? 
Or, hear with joy the leveret's cry, 
Because it cannot bravely die ? 
No ! Then above his memory 



HONOUR'S MARTYR 35 

Let Pity's heart as tender be; 

Say, ' Earth, lie lightly on that breast, 

And, kind Heaven, grant that spirit rest ! ' 



HONOUR'S MARTYR 

THE moon is full this winter night ; 

The stars are clear, though few ; 
And every window glistens bright 

With leaves of frozen dew. 

The sweet moon through your lattice gleams, 

And lights your room like day ; 
And there you pass, in happy dreams, 

The peaceful hours away ! 

While I, with effort hardly quelling 

The anguish in my breast, 
Wander about the silent dwelling, 

And cannot think of rest. 

The old clock in the gloomy hall 

Ticks on from hour to hour; 
And every time its measured call 

Seems lingering slow and slower : 

And, oh, how slow that keen-eyed star 
Has tracked the chilly grey ! 



36 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

What, watching yet ! how very far 
The morning lies away ! 

Without your chamber door I stand ; 

Love, are you slumbering still ? 
My cold heart, underneath my hand, 

Has almost ceased to thrill. 

Bleak, bleak the east wind sobs and sighs, 

And drowns the turret bell, 
Whose sad note, undistinguished, dies 

Unheard, like my farewell ! 

To-morrow, Scorn will blight my name, 

And Hate will trample me, 
Will load me with a coward's shame 

A traitor's perjury. 

False friends will launch their covert sneers ; 

True friends will wish me dead ; 
And I shall cause the bitterest tears 

That you have ever shed. 

The dark deeds of my outlawed race 

Will then like virtues shine ; 
And men will pardon their disgrace, 

Beside the guilt of mine. 

For, who forgives the accursed crime 
Of dastard treachery ? 



HONOUR'S MARTYR 37 

Rebellion, in its chosen time, 
May Freedom's champion be ; 

Revenge may stain a righteous sword, 

It may be just to slay ; 
But, traitor, traitor, from that word 

All true breasts shrink away ! 

Oh, I would give my heart to death, 

To keep my honour fair ; 
Yet, I '11 not give my inward faith 

My honour's name to spare ! 

Not even to keep your priceless love, 

Dare I, Beloved, deceive ; 
This treason should the future prove, 

Then, only then, believe ! 

I know the path I ought to go, 

I follow fearlessly, 
Inquiring not what deeper woe 

Stern duty stores for me. 

So foes pursue, and cold allies 

Mistrust me, every one : 
Let me be false in others' eyes, 

If faithful in my own. 



38 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



STANZAS 

I 'LL not weep that thou art going to leave me, 

There 's nothing lovely here ; 
And doubly will the dark world grieve me, 

While thy heart suffers there. 

I '11 not weep, because the summer's glory 

Must always end in gloom ; 
And, follow out the happiest story 

It closes with the tomb ! 

And I am weary of the anguish 

Increasing winters bear ; 
Weary to watch the spirit languish 

Through years of dead despair. 

So, if a tear, when thou art dying, 

Should haply fall from me, 
It is but that my soul is sighing, 

To go and rest with thee. 



MY COMFORTER 

WELL hast thou spoken, and yet not taught 
A feeling strange or new ; 



MY COMFORTER 39 

Thou hast but roused a latent thought, 
A cloud-closed beam of sunshine brought 
To gleam in open view. 

Deep down, concealed within my soul, 

That light lies hid from men ; 
Yet glows unquenched though shadows roll, 
Its gentle ray cannot control 

About the sullen den. 

Was I not vexed, in these gloomy ways 

To walk alone so long ? 
Around me, wretches uttering praise, 
Or howling o'er their hopeless days, 

And each with Frenzy's tongue ; 

A brotherhood of misery, 

Their smiles as sad as sighs ; 
Whose madness daily maddened me, 
Distorting into agony 

The bliss before my eyes. 

So stood I, in Heaven's glorious sun, 

And in the glare of Hell ; 
My spirit drank a mingled tone, 
Of seraph's song, and demon's moan ; 
What my soul bore, my soul alone 

Within itself may tell ! 

Like a soft air above a sea, 
Tossed by the tempest's stir ; 



40 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

A thaw-wind, melting quietly 
The snow-drift on some wintry lea ; 
No : what sweet thing resembles thee, 
My thoughtful Comforter ? 

And yet a little longer speak, 

Calm this resentful mood ; 
And while the savage heart grows meek, 
For other token do not seek, 
But let the tear upon my cheek 

Evince my gratitude ! 



THE OLD STOIC 

RICHES I hold in light esteem, 
And Love I laugh to scorn ; 

And lust of fame was but a dream, 
That vanished with the morn : 

And if I pray, the only prayer 
That moves my lips for me 

Is, ' Leave the heart that now I bear, 
And give me liberty ! * 

Yes, as my swift days near their goal, 

'Tis all that I implore ; 
In life and death a chainless soul, 

With courage to endure. 



SELECTIONS 

FROM 

POEMS BY ELLIS BELL 

IT would not have been difficult to compile a 
volume out of the papers left by my sisters, 
had I, in making the selection, dismissed from my 
consideration the scruples and the wishes of those 
whose written thoughts these papers held. But 
this was impossible : an influence, stronger than 
could be exercised by any motive of expediency, 
necessarily regulated the selection. I have, then, 
culled from the mass only a little poem here and 
there. The whole makes but a tiny nosegay, and 
the colour and perfume of the flowers are not such 
as fit them for festal uses. 

It has been already said that my sisters wrote 
much in childhood and girlhood. Usually, it seems 
a sort of injustice to expose in print the crude 
thoughts of the unripe mind, the rude efforts of 
the unpractised hand ; yet I venture to give three 
little poems of my sister Emily's, written in her 
sixteenth year, because they illustrate a point in 
her character. 

At that period she was sent to school. Her 

41 



42 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

previous life, with the exception of a single half- 
year, had been passed in the absolute retirement 
of a village parsonage, amongst the hills bordering 
Yorkshire and Lancashire. The scenery of these 
hills is not grand it is not romantic, it is scarcely 
striking. Long low moors, dark with heath, shut 
in little valleys, where a stream waters, here and 
there, a fringe of stunted copse. Mills and 
scattered cottages chase romance from these 
valleys; it is only higher up, deep in amongst 
the ridges of the moors, that Imagination can 
find rest for the sole of her foot : and even if she 
finds it there, she must be a solitude-loving 
raven no gentle dove. If she demand beauty 
to inspire her, she must bring it inborn; these 
moors are too stern to yield any product so 
delicate. The eye of the gazer must itself brim 
with a f purple light/ intense enough to perpetuate 
the brief flower-flush of August on the heather, 
or the rare sunset-smile of June ; out of his heart 
must well the freshness, that in later spring and 
early summer brightens the bracken, nurtures the 
moss, and cherishes the starry flowers that spangle 
for a few weeks the pasture of the moor-sheep. 
Unless that light and freshness are innate and 
self-sustained, the drear prospect of a Yorkshire 
moor will be found as barren of poetic as of 
agricultural interest; where the love of wild 
nature is strong, the locality will perhaps be 
clung to with the more passionate constancy, 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 43 

because from the hill-lover's self comes half its 
charm. 

My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers 
brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest 
of the heath for her ; out of a sullen hollow in a 
livid hill-side her mind could make an Eden. 
She found in the bleak solitude many and dear 
delights ; and not the least and best loved was 
liberty. 

Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; 
without it, she perished. The change from her 
own home to a school, and from her own very 
noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted and 
inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined 
routine (though under the kindliest auspices), 
was what she failed in enduring. Her nature 
proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every 
morning when she woke, the vision of home and 
the moors rushed on her, and darkened and 
saddened the day that lay before her. Nobody 
knew what ailed her but me I knew only too 
well. In this struggle her health was quickly 
broken : her white face, attenuated form, and 
failing strength, threatened rapid decline. I felt 
in my heart she would die, if she did not go 
home, and with this conviction obtained her 
recall. She had only been three months at 
school ; and it was some years before the experi- 
ment of sending her from home was again 
ventured on. After the age of twenty, having 



44 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

meantime studied alone with diligence and 
perseverance, she went with me to an establish- 
ment on the Continent: the same suffering and 
conflict ensued, heightened by the strong recoil 
of her upright heretic and English spirit from the 
gentle Jesuitry of the foreign and Romish system. 
Once more she seemed sinking, but this time she 
rallied through the mere force of resolution ; 
with inward remorse and shame she looked back 
on her former failure, and resolved to conquer in 
this second ordeal. She did conquer: but the 
victory cost her dear. She was never happy till 
she carried her hard-won knowledge back to the 
remote English village, the old parsonage-house, 
and desolate Yorkshire hills. A very few years 
more, and she looked her last on those hills, and 
breathed her last in that house, and under the 
aisle of that obscure village church found her last 
lowly resting-place. Merciful was the decree 
that spared her when she was a stranger in a 
strange land, and guarded her dying bed with 
kindred love and congenial constancy. 

The following pieces were composed at twilight, 
in the schoolroom, when the leisure of the evening 
play-hour brought back in full tide the thoughts 
of home. 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 45 



A LITTLE while, a little while, 

The weary task is put away, 
And I can sing and I can smile. 

Alike, while I have holiday. 

Where wilt thou go, my harassed heart 
What thought, what scene invites thee now ? 

What spot, or near or far apart, 

Has rest for thee, my weary brow ? 

There is a spot, 'mid barren hills, 

Where winter howls, and driving rain ;. 

But, if the dreary tempest chills, 
There is a light that warms again. 

The house is old, the trees are bare, 
Moonless above bends twilight's dome; 

But what on earth is half so dear 
So longed for as the hearth of home ? 

The mute bird sitting on the stone, 

The dank moss dripping from the wall, 

The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o'er-grown, 
I love them how I love them all ! 

Still, as I mused, the naked room, 
The alien firelight died away ; 



46 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And from the midst of cheerless gloom, 
I passed to bright, unclouded day. 

A little and a lone green lane 
That opened on a common wide ; 

A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain 
Of mountains circling every side. 

A heaven so clear, an earth so calm, 
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air ; 

And, deepening still the dream-like charm, 
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere. 

That was the scene, I knew it well ; 

I knew the turfy pathway's sweep, 
That, winding o'er each billowy swell, 

Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep. 

Could I have lingered but an hour, 
It well had paid a week of toil ; 

But Truth has banished Fancy's power : 
Restraint and heavy task recoil. 

Even as I stood with raptured eye, 
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear, 

My hour of rest had fleeted by, 

And back came labour, bondage, care. 



THE BLUEBELL 47 

II 
THE BLUEBELL 

THE Bluebell is the sweetest flower 

That waves in summer air : 
Its blossoms have the mightiest power 

To soothe my spirit's care. 

There is a spell in purple heath 

Too wildly, sadly dear; 
The violet has a fragrant breath, 

But fragrance will not cheer. 

The trees are bare, the sun is cold, 

And seldom, seldom seen ; 
The heavens have lost their zone of gold 

And earth her robe of green. 

And ice upon the glancing stream 

Has cast its sombre shade ; 
And distant hills and valleys seem 

In frozen mist arrayed. 

The bluebell cannot charm me now, 

The heath has lost its bloom , 
The violets in the glen below, 

They yield no sweet perfume. 



48 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But, though I mourn the sweet bluebell, 

'Tis better far away ; 
I know how fast my tears would swell 

To see it smile to-day. 

For, oh ! when chill the sunbeams fall 

Adown that dreary sky, 
And gild yon dank and darkened wall 

With transient brilliancy ; 

How do I weep, how do I pine 
For the time of flowers to come, 

And turn me from that fading shine, 
To mourn the fields of home ! 



Ill 



LOUD without the wind was roaring 

Through th f autumnal sky ; 
Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring, 

Spoke of winter nigh. 

All too like that dreary eve, 

Did my exiled spirit grieve. 

Grieved at first, but grieved not long, 

Sweet how softly sweet ! it came ; 
Wild words of an ancient song, 

Undefined, without a name. 

' It was spring, and the skylark was singing ' 
Those words they awakened a spell ; 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 49 

They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing 
Nor absence, nor distance can quell. 

In the gloom of a cloudy November 

They uttered the music of May ; 
They kindled the perishing ember 

Into fervour that could not decay. 

Awaken, o'er all my dear moorland, 

West-wind in thy glory and pride ! 
Oh ! call me from valley and lowland, 

To walk by the hill-torrent's side ! 

It is swelled with the first snowy weather ; 

The rocks they are icy and hoar, 
And sullenly waves the long heather, 

And the fern leaves are sunny no more. 

There are no yellow stars on the mountain; 

The bluebells have long died away 
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain 

From the side of the wintry brae. 

But lovelier than corn-fields all waving 

In emerald, and vermeil, and gold, 
Are the heights where the north-wind is raving 

And the crags where I wandered of old. 

It was morning : the bright sun was beaming ; 
How sweetly it brought back to me 



50 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

The time when nor labour nor dreaming 
Broke the sleep of the happy and free ! 

But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven 
Was melting to amber and blue, 

And swift were the wings to our feet given, 
As we traversed the meadows of dew. 



For the moors ! For the moors, where the short 

grass 

Like velvet beneath us should lie ! 
For the moors ! For the moors, where each high 

pass 
Rose sunny against the clear sky ! 

For the moors, where the linnet was trilling 

Its song on the old granite stone ; 
Where the lark, the wild skylark, was filling 

Every breast with delight like its own ! 

What language can utter the feeling 

Which rose, when in exile afar, 
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling, 

I saw the brown heath growing there ? 

It was scattered and stunted, and told me 
That soon even that would be gone : 

It whispered, ' The grim walls enfold me, 
I have bloomed in my last summer's sun/ 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 51 

But not the loved music, whose waking 
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away, 

Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking 
Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay. 

The spirit which bent 'neath its power 

How it longed how it burned to be free ! 

If I could have wept in that hour, 
Those tears had been heaven to me. 

Well well ; the sad minutes are moving 
Though loaded with trouble and pain ; 

And some time the loved and the loving 
Shall meet on the mountains again ! 

The following little piece has no title ; but in 
it the Genius of a solitary region seems to address 
his wandering and wayward votary, and to recall 
within his influence the proud mind which 
rebelled at times even against what it most loved. 

SHALL earth no more inspire thee, 

Thou lonely dreamer now ? 
Since passion may not fire thee, 

Shall nature cease to bow ? 

Thy mind is ever moving, 

In regions dark to thee ; 
Recall its useless roving, 

Come back, and dwell with me. 



52 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

I know my mountain breezes 
Enchant and soothe thee still, 

I know my sunshine pleases, 
Despite thy wayward will. 

When day with evening blending, 
Sinks from the summer sky, 

I 've seen thy spirit bending 
In fond idolatry. 

I 've watched thee every hour ; 

I know my mighty sway : 
I know my magic power 

To drive thy griefs away. 

Few hearts to mortals given, 
On earth so wildly pine ; 

Yet few would ask a heaven 
More like this earth than thine. 

Then let my winds caress thee ; 

Thy comrade let me be : 
Since nought beside can bless thee, 

Return and dwell with me. 



Here again is the same mind in converse with 
a like abstraction. ' The Night- Wind,' breathing 
through an open window, has visited an ear which 
discerned language in its whispers. 



THE NIGHT-WIND 53 

THE NIGHT-WIND 

IN summer's mellow midnight, 
A cloudless moon shone through 

Our open parlour window, 
And rose-trees wet with dew. 

I sat in silent musing; 

The soft wind waved my hair ; 
It told me heaven was glorious, 

And sleeping earth was fair, 

I needed not its breathing 

To bring such thoughts to me ; 

But still it whispered lowly, 
How dark the woods will be ! 

' The thick leaves in my murmur 

Are rustling like a dream, 
And all their myriad voices 

Instinct with spirit seem.' 

I said, ' Go, gentle singer, 

Thy wooing voice is kind : 
But do not think its music 

Has power to reach my mind. 

'Play with the scented flower, 
The young tree's supple bough, 



54 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And leave my human feelings 
In their own course to flow.' 



The wanderer would not heed me ; 

Its kiss grew warmer still. 
' Oh come ! ' it sighed so sweetly ; 

' I '11 win thee 'gainst thy will. 

' Were we not friends from childhood ? 

Have I not loved thee long ? 
As long as thou, the solemn night, 

Whose silence wakes my song. 

' And when thy heart is resting 
Beneath the church-aisle stone, 

/ shall have time for mourning, 
And thou for being alone.' 



In these stanzas a louder gale has roused the 
sleeper on her pillow : the wakened soul struggles 
to blend with the storm by which it is swayed : 

AY there it is ! it wakes to-night 

Deep feelings I thought dead ; 
Strong in the blast quick gathering light 

The heart's flame kindles red. 

'Now I can tell by thine altered cheek, 
And by thine eyes' full gaze, 



THE NIGHT-WIND 66 

And by the words thou scarce dost speak 
How wildly fancy plays. 

* Yes I could swear that glorious wind 

Has swept the world aside, 
Has dashed its memory from thy mind 

Like foam-bells from the tide : 

' And thou art now a spirit pouring 

Thy presence into all : 
The thunder of the tempest's roaring, 

The whisper of its fall : 

' An universal influence, 

From thine own influence free ; 
A principle of life intense 

Lost to mortality. 

' Thus truly, when that breast is cold, 

Thy prisoned soul shall rise ; 
The dungeon mingle with the mould 

The captive with the skies. 
Nature's deep being, thine shall hold, 
Her spirit all thy spirit fold, 

Her breath absorb thy sighs. 
Mortal ! though soon life's tale is told, 

Who once lives, never dies ! ' 



56 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP 

LOVE is like the wild rose-briar ; 

Friendship like the holly-tree. 
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, 

But which will bloom most constantly ? 

The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring, 
Its summer blossoms scent the air ; 

Yet wait till winter comes again, 

And who will call the wild-briar fair ? 

Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now, 
And deck thee with the holly's sheen, 

That, when December blights thy brow, 
He still may leave thy garland green. 



THE ELDER'S REBUKE 

' LISTEN ! When your hair, like mine, 

Takes a tint of silver grey ; 
When your eyes, with dimmer shine, 

Watch life's bubbles float away : 

' When you, young man, have borne like me 
The weary weight of sixty-three, 
Then shall penance sore be paid 



THE ELDER'S REBUKE 57 

For those hours so wildly squandered ; 
And the words that now fall dead 

On your ear, be deeply pondered 
Pondered and approved at last : 
But their virtue will be past ! 

' Glorious is the prize of Duty, 

Though she be " a serious power " ; 

Treacherous all the lures of Beauty, 
Thorny bud and poisonous flower ! 

' Mirth is but a mad beguiling 

Of the golden-gifted time \ 
Love a demon meteor, wiling 

Heedless feet to gulfs of crime. 

( Those who follow earthly pleasure, 
Heavenly knowledge will not lead ; 

Wisdom hides from them her treasure, 
Virtue bids them evil-speed ! 

' Vainly may their hearts repenting, 

Seek for aid in future years ; 
Wisdom, scorned, knows no relenting : 

Virtue is not won by fears.' 

Thus spake the ice-blooded elder grey ; 
The young man scoffed as he turned away, 
Turned to the call of a sweet lute's measure, 
Waked by the lightsome touch of pleasure : 



68 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTfi 

Had he ne'er met a gentler teacher, 
Woe had been wrought by that pitiless 
preacher. 



THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD 

How few, of all the hearts that loved, 

Are grieving for thee now ; 
And why should mine to-night be moved 

With such a sense of woe ? 

Too often thus, when left alone, 
Where none my thoughts can see, 

Comes back a word, a passing tone 
From thy strange history. 

Sometimes I seem to see thee rise, 

A glorious child again ; 
All virtues beaming from thine eyes 

That ever honoured men : 

Courage and truth, a generous breast 

Where sinless sunshine lay : 
A being whose very presence blest 

Like gladsome summer-day. 

Oh, fairly spread thy early sail, 
And fresh, and pure, and free, 



THE WANDERER FROM THE FOLD 59 

Was the first impulse of the gale 
Which urged life's wave for thee ! 

Why did the pilot, too confiding, 

Dream o'er that ocean's foam, 
And trust in Pleasure's careless guiding 

To bring his vessel home ? 

For well he knew what dangers frowned, 
What mists would gather, dim ; 

What rocks and shelves, and sands lay round 
Between his port and him. 

The very brightness of the sun, 

The splendour of the main, 
The wind which bore him wildly on 

Should not have warned in vain. 

An anxious gazer from the shore 

I marked the whitening wave, 
And wept above thy fate the more 

Because I could not save. 

It recks not now, when all is over ! 

But yet my heart will be 
A mourner still, though friend and lover 

Have both forgotten thee ! 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 



WARNING AND REPLY 

IN the earth the earth thou shalt be laid, 
A grey stone standing over thee ; 

Black mould beneath thee spread, 
And black mould to cover thee. 

'Well there is rest there, 

So fast come thy prophecy ; 
The time when my sunny hair 

Shall with grass entwined be.' 

But cold cold is that resting-place, 

Shut out from joy and liberty, 
And all who loved thy living face 

Will shrink from it shudderingly. 

' Not so. Here the world is chill, 
And sworn friends fall from me : 

But there they will own me still, 
And prize my memory.' 

Farewell, then, all that love, 

All that deep sympathy : 
Sleep on : Heaven laughs above, 

Earth never misses thee. 

Turf-sod and tombstone drear 
Part human company ; 



LAST WORDS 61 

One heart breaks only here, 
But that heart was worthy thee ! 



LAST WORDS 

I KNEW not 'twas so dire a crime 

To say the word, ' Adieu ' ; 
But this shall be the only time 

My lips or heart shall sue. 

The wild hill-side, the winter morn, 
The gnarled and ancient tree, 

If in your breast they waken scorn, 
Shall wake the same in me. 

I can forget black eyes and brows, 

And lips of falsest charm, 
If you forget the sacred vows 

Those faithless lips could form. 

If hard commands can tame your love, 

Or strongest walls can hold, 
I would not wish to grieve above 

A thing so false and cold. 

And there are bosoms bound to mine 
With links both tried and strong ; 

And there are eyes whose lightning shine 
Has warmed and blessed me long : 



62 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Those eyes shall make my only day, 

Shall set my spirit free, 
And chase the foolish thoughts away 

That mourn your memory. 



THE LADY TO HER GUITAR 

FOR him who struck thy foreign string, 
I ween this heart has ceased to care ; 

Then why dost thou such feelings bring 
To my sad spirit old Guitar ? 

It is as if the warm sunlight 

In some deep glen should lingering stay, 
When clouds of storm, or shades of night, 

Have wrapt the parent orb away. 

It is as if the glassy brook 

Should image still its willows fair, 

Though years ago the woodman's stroke 
Laid low in dust their Dryad-hair. 

Even so, Guitar, thy magic tone 

Hath moved the tear and waked the sigh 
Hath bid the ancient torrent moan, 

Although its very source is dry. 



THE TWO CHILDREN 63 



THE TWO CHILDREN 

HEAVY hangs the rain-drop 
From the burdened spray ; 

Heavy broods the damp mist 
On uplands far away. 

Heavy looms the dull sky, 

Heavy rolls the sea ; 
And heavy throbs the young heart 

Beneath that lonely tree. 

Never has a blue streak 

Cleft the clouds since morn ; 

Never has his grim fate 
Smiled since he was born. 

Frowning on the infant, 
Shadowing childhood's joy, 

Guardian-angel knows not 
That melancholy boy. 

Day is passing swiftly 

Its sad and sombre prime ; 

Boyhood sad is merging 
In sadder manhood's time : 

All the flowers are praying 
For sun, before they close, 



64 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

And he prays too unconscious 
That sunless human rose. 

Blossom that the west-wind 
Has never wooed to blow, 

Scentless are thy petals, 
Thy dew is cold as snow ! 

Soul where kindred kindness, 
No early promise woke, 

Barren is thy beauty, 
As weed upon a rock. 

Wither soul and blossom ! 

You both were vainly given : 
Earth reserves no blessing 

For the unblest of heaven ! 



Child of delight, with sun-bright hair, 
And sea-blue, sea-deep eyes ! 

Spirit of bliss ! What brings thee here 
Beneath these sullen skies ? 

Thou shouldst live in eternal spring, 
Where endless day is never dim ; 

Why, Seraph, has thine erring wing 
Wafted thee down to weep with him ! 

' Ah ! not from heaven am I descended, 
Nor do I come to mingle tears ; 



THE VISIONARY 65 

But sweet is day, though with shadows blended; 
And, though clouded, sweet are youthful 
years. 

' I the image of light and gladness 
Saw and pitied that mournful boy, 

And I vowed if need were to share his 

sadness, 
And give to him my sunny joy. 

' Heavy and dark the night is closing ; 

Heavy and dark may its biding be : 
Better for all from grief reposing, 

And better for all who watch like me 

' Watch in love by a fevered pillow, 
Cooling the fever with pity's balm ; 

Safe as the petrel on tossing billow, 
Safe in mine own soul's golden calm ! 

' Guardian-angel he lacks no longer ; 

Evil fortune he need not fear : 
Fate is strong, but love is stronger ; 

And my love is truer than angel-care/ 



THE VISIONARY 

SILENT is the house : all are laid asleep : 
One alone looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep, 
E 



66 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze 
That whirls the wildering drift,, and bends the 
groaning trees. 

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor ; 
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or 

door; 
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong 

and far : 
I trim it well, to be the wanderer's guiding-star. 

Frown, my haughty sire ! chide, my angry dame ! 
Set your slaves to spy ; threaten me with shame : 
But neither sire nor dame, nor prying serf shall 

know, 
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen 

snow. 

What I love shall come like visitant of air, 
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare ; 
What loves me, no word of mine shall e'er betray, 
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit 

Pay- 
Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and 

clear 

Hush ! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air ! 
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me ; 
Strange Power ! I trust thy might ; trust thou 

my constancy. 



ENCOURAGEMENT 67 



ENCOURAGEMENT 

I DO not weep ; I would not weep ; 

Our mother needs no tears : 
Dry thine eyes, too ; 'tis vain to keep 

This causeless grief for years. 

What though her brow be changed and cold, 

Her sweet eyes closed for ever ? 
What though the stone the darksome mould 

Our mortal bodies sever ? 

What though her hand smooth ne'er again 

Those silken locks of thine ? 
Nor, through long hours of future pain, 

Her kind face o'er thee shine ? 

Remember still, she is not dead ; 

She sees us, sister, now ; 
Laid, where her angel spirit fled, 

'Mid heath and frozen snow. 

And from that world of heavenly light 

Will she not always bend 
To guide us in our lifetime's night. 

And guard us to the end ? 

Thou knowest she will ; and thou may'st mourn 
That we are left below : 



POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

But not that she can ne'er return 
To share our earthly woe. 



STANZAS 

OFTEN rebuked, yet always back returning 

To those first feelings that were born with me, 

And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning 
For idle dreams of things that cannot be : 

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region ; 

Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear ; 
And visions rising, legion after legion, 

Bring the unreal world too strangely near. 

I '11 walk, but not in old heroic traces, 

And not in paths of high morality, 
And not among the half-distinguished faces, 

The clouded forms of long-past history. 

I '11 walk where my own nature would be leading : 
It vexes me to choose another guide : 

Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding ; 
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain 
side. 

What have those lonely mountains worth re- 
vealing ? 
More glory and more grief than I can tell : 



STANZAS 69 

The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling 
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and 
Hell. 

The following are the last lines my sister Emily 
ever wrote : 

No coward soul is mine, 
No trembler in the world's storm- troubled sphere : 

I see Heaven's glories shine, 
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear. 

O God within my breast, 
Almighty, ever-present Deity ! 

Life that in me has rest, 
As I undying Life have power in thee ! 

Vain are the thousand creeds 

That move men's hearts : unutterably vain ; 

Worthless as withered weeds, 

Or idlest froth amid the boundless main, 

. 

To waken doubt in one 
Holding so fast by thine infinity ; 

So surely anchored on 
The steadfast rock of immortality. 

With wide-embracing love 
Thy spirit animates eternal years, 

Pervades and broods above, 
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears. 



70 POEMS OF EMILY BRONTE 

Though earth and man were gone, 
And suns and universes ceased to be, 

And Thou were left alone, 
Every existence would exist in Thee. 

There is no room for Death, 
Nor atom that his might could render void : 

Thou THOU art Being and Breath, 
And what THOU art may never be destroyed. 



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at the Edinburgh University Press 



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